Thursday, September 27, 2018

MANTO (2018) - HINDI

A film that had history and literature superbly blended in the biopic of the writer.

Saadat Hasan Manto is one of the very few writers who deserves a biopic. His life had a lot of history and there are so many happenings that I wonder why it took so long for someone to make a film on him. His values and his perspective is truthful honesty and in 1940's he fought for penning down things "as they are" and had he lived today, perhaps he would be fighting for his rights. 

The movie set in the 1940’s precisely between 1947 and 1951 harks back to a time when India was being torn and carved into India and Pakistan. Manto is torn too and makes a choice upon instigation which did not do any good for either his freedom of expression or for his own family well-being.
I so wish he corrected the decision and returned to his beloved place where he felt home.

Acted superbly by Nawazuddin Siddiqui and penned well by Nandita Das herself, the movie gives words a new lease of life. There is space ‘Thehraav’ in the film that gave me time to ponder. The period setup is extremely good considering the limitations of resources for the film. All the technical departments especially the editing are in fine form.

Emotionally, I wished this film did something to me. Except taking me back and telling me how close was Ismat Chugtai with Manto and also refreshing me with Manto’s stories, this film did little. For whatever the reasons are, I was not moved as much as I expected myself to move and feel.  I suppose that perhaps knowing Manto’s life well enough through his stories was a reason.

I strongly recommend you look up his short stories "Khol Do", "Bu", "Toba Tek Singh" and "Thanda Gosht" as this homework would certainly help you better connect with the film.

Although everyone was good in their roles and technically the film was fine, I do wish it made me feel more. For that reason alone, I am giving it a 3/5 in an otherwise terrific film.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018


To call this movie GREAT would still be an understatement.

I waited to watch the film the second time to give my review, as the first viewing gave an overwhelming feeling. I almost sobbed for an hour after the film and become so emotional that rationality was not to be found even after days after second viewing. So, as I got into my senses and have overcome the overwhelming emotion, I decided to pen down my feelings about this film today.

For me, this is a reflection of a slice of life of characters. I did not see any actor or actress, all I could see are characters and therein lay the greatness of the film. The acting is as natural as it can get. To call the performances as acting would also be wrong, I guess. I would say they just lived their character. Their slice of life was beautifully captured through the view of the director. Never did I feel all through the film, that this film was written and scripted and then shot with a camera. I felt like cameras were hidden from the eyes of the characters, and the way they live their life was just captured and edited out. This is as natural as it can get and am extremely thankful to the vision of the director for bringing out the most natural and realistic film ever in Telugu.

The performances, as mentioned above are just life lived in front of the screen. I did not ever feel that anybody was acting. Every character, big or small just put their heart out. Kudos to the director again for extracting such terrific performances from the mostly debut actors.

The screenplay is top notch, never did I feel in the first viewing that the end would be, what it turned out to be. The matching of the day with day and night with the night as screen shifts from one character to another is in itself technically a superlative achievement. The editing is just perfect there is space for characters to breathe and for the audience to relish those generally routine moments too.

Although all the characters were beautifully etched, I liked "Gaddam" and "Raju" amongst all the characters. But the one who stole my heart was the stammering "Ramamurthy" the one who made idols of clay.

I have been blessed with two amazing songs through the film. They are "Asha Pasham" and "Yemi Janmamu". Thanks to singers "Anurag Kulkarni" and "Venkat Rao" respectively for giving life to these songs with their heart, soul and voice. Just amazing these songs are. The amount of philosophy that is conveyed through these songs is something that takes a lot of thought process for comprehending the lyrics. The lyrics by Vishwa are wonderful I must say and with simple Telugu, he gave a life philosophy in the song "Asha Pasham". Hope is like a net that all humans always fall into and we are bound by hope.

The music of the film is just sublime. The violins by Tyagaraju are just heart-rending. The silences are more powerful through the film than music. Now, am a huge fan of the music director "Sweekar Agasthi. I just wish he teams up with honest and passionate directors like Venkatesh Maha and gives us such gems.

About the director, Venkatesh Maha and the producer Praveena Paruchuri. I can just say a big thank you. How much ever I praise you guys, it would be less. You are like two angels who have blessed us with this gem of a film that has a lot of undercurrent philosophy and address so many issues head-on without making it preachy or over the top. Venkatesh Maha is one of the most honest and subtle directors we have got in Telugu (at least for now). I hope his journey continues for a long long time to come.

A 5/5 for the best film of the year and perhaps the decade. I don't care how many awards it would win, coz I am sure it can easily win millions of hearts. My current favorite film and this film will be on loop for years in my life.

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I firstly declare here that all the content written in the blog is exclusively written by me and I hold the copyrights of each and everything. Be it a poem or a movie review. Also, the videos or photographs I upload or attach are exclusively owned by me. This declaration is important in a world that seems so worried of piracy. The prime purpose of these blogs is to put my writings and photographs on the net. and well to start with.... I live in my mind, and existence is the attempt to bring my thoughts into physical reality, I celebrate myself, sing myself and I am always happy in my own company.....I am not the best in the world but I strive for excellence and thats what keeps me alive... Talking much about oneself can also be a means to conceal oneself--Friedrich Nietzsche